September 2016

Native Plants for Birds

I am exicted to see the new initiative from Audubon – it has its own website and it’s all about planting native plants for birds whether it is a pot, a plot or a whole lot.  As it gets developed you will be able to get suggestions for plants for your area.  UMBA already has a few materials developed to give some ideas about native plants that are good for birds and our part of the state.  We will work on getting those added to the Audubon database.  Here is a short video to get you started.

Surveying Malmstrom Air Force Base

The security forces were alerted.  Saturday morning 9 curious “birders” took to the fields and residential areas and “industrial” areas to take a fall survey of birds present on Malmstrom Air Force Base.  We noticed the security vehicles and some stopped to check and see what we had been seeing.  There was a lot of walking – we each walked from 5-7 miles in the 4 hours we were searching.  The conditions were far from ideal – cloudy and windy with winds steady at 25 mph gusting to at least 35 mph.  We learned a lot about how we can improve the process for subsequent surveys – we all agreed one fall survey is not enough.  We hope to coordinate to complete at least seasonal surveys.  It was fun to explore an area infrequently accessed by birders.  We could have used more people and more time to do a more thorough survey but we still had an impressive list of birds seen.
In no particular order:  Brewer’s Blackbirds and Starlings (close tie for the highest number), White-crowned Sparrows, Vesper Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Mallard, Western Meadowlark, Northern Flicker, Barn Swallow, House Sparrow, Black-billed Magpie, Rock Pigeon, English House Sparrow, House Finch, Horned Lark, Common Raven, American Crow, American Goldfinch, Mourning Dove, Dark-eyed Junco, Ring-necked Pheasant, Northern Harrier, Great Horned Owl, Sharp-shinned Hawk, American Kestrel, Killdeer, Black-capped Chickadee, Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Mountain Bluebird.
​Stay tuned for a winter survey!